RIVERSIDE, Calif.-- It’s hard to make of what Friday meant for the Azusa Pacific women’s water polo team. On one had the Cougars won their third straight match to improve to 5-4 after defeating Cal State San Bernardino for the second time in as many games. On the other, the Cougars looked lost in a humbling 12-4 defeat against Concordia to drop back to 5-5 on the season after day one of the Lancer Invitational. But with a team as young as Azusa Pacific, days like today are to be expected.
“We didn’t come to play and it showed. We have a lot of areas to fix and fine-tune, and we’ll be working on them” said head coach Julie Snodgrass. “I’m happy we got the win. Sometimes it’s hard to beat a team twice. We’re young and we’re growing and I’m excited to see how we recover from a tough loss against a team we wanted to beat.”
One of those young players, Courtney Folsom, led the way with four goals in the two matches, while Megan Minekime posted a hat trick in the win over CSUSB. Junior Jennifer Horchler continued to play well as she finished with two goals and three steals. Keeper Brooke Sovick tallied 14 saves on Friday, and made multiple one-on-none stops to help the Cougars notch their win over Cal State San Bernardino.
Against the Coyotes Azusa Pacific started slow despite scoring first. The Cougars opened with a goal by Folsom three minutes in, but surrendered a 3-1 run over the next five minutes of play to give Cal State San Bernardino a 3-2 lead headed into the first break. But in the second quarter Azusa pacific would respond with a spree of its own, notching four consecutive goals by four separate players to take a 6-3 lead with 3:46 to go in the first half. CSUSB, however, registered back-to-back scores to end the frame with the Cougars holding a 6-5 advantage.
The third quarter was much like the second as four Cougars found the back of the net in a run that put Azusa Pacific ahead 10-6 with eight minutes to play. In the final quarter the Coyotes put together a moderate run, outscoring the Cougars 4-2 through the first four minutes, but that was all CSUSB could muster as Azusa pacific won its third straight contest 12-10. Minekime and Folsom each registered hat tricks in the match while Horchler recorded a goal, steal, and three assists.
Against Concordia a 7-0 Eagle run that spanned over 16 minutes of play put the match out of reach early for the Cougars. Concordia opened the match with a goal and Azusa Pacific responded with a score from Folsom at the 4:31 mark of the first quarter. But that would be the last time the Cougars would score until the 4:00 minute mark as the Eagles took a commanding 8-2 lead before going on to win 12-4. Horchler, Folsom, Allison Gonzales, and Daniella Khatchetourian all recorded goals in the match, while Sovick tallied five saves.
With the win and loss Azusa Pacific stays at the .500 mark, and won’t play again until a road tilt at Redlands next Saturday.